StrictlyVC: February 12, 2015

Hi, happy Thursday, everyone!

We have a slightly abbreviated version of the newsletter today (event prep), but we’ll be back in full form soon.


Top News in the A.M.

Pinterest is unveiling a new product today that could make it easier to discover new smartphone apps without even having to go into Apple’s App Store. The New York Times has the story.


New Fundings

ActionSprout, a four-year-old, Bellingham, Wa.-based company that makes software tools for nonprofits looking to promote themselves on Facebook, has raised $1.7 million in seed funding led by Oregon Angel Fund, with participation from Bellingham Angel Fund, Portland Seed Fund and other West Coast investors.

Bivarus, a five-year-old, Durham, N.C.-based health-care analytics company, has raised $1.9 million in funding led by Excelerate Health Ventures, with participation from returning angel investors. The company has now raised $2.3 million to date., an 8.5-year-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based on-demand accounts payable application for CPAs and small and mid-size businesses, has raised $50 million in new funding from Silicon Valley Bank, along with earlier backers DCM Ventures, Scale Venture Partners, August CapitalNapier Park Global Capital, and Commerce Ventures. The company has now raised $122.6 million altogether, shows Crunchbase. Silicon Valley Business Journal has more here.

Changing Environments, a year-old, Cambridge, Ma.-based startup that’s making Internet-connected, solar-powered park benches that can charge phones and be mounted with sensors to monitor traffic and air quality, has raised more than $1 million in a seed round. Its backers include Atlas Venture; E14 Fund, a fund affiliated with M.I.T.; and Where Angels Fund. Venture Capital Dispatch has more here.

Cidara Therapeutics, a 1.5-year-old, San Diego-based company that’s developing anti-infectives and immunotherapies for fungal and other infections, has raised $42 million in Series B funding from undisclosed investors. The company has now raised at least $74 million, shows Crunchbase. Its earlier backers include 5AM Ventures, Aisling CapitalFrazier Healthcare and InterWest Partners.

Conductor, a seven-year-old, New York-based marketing-software startup, has raised $27 million in fresh funding led by Catalyst Investors, with participation from Blue Cloud Ventures and earlier backers FirstMark Capital, Matrix Partners and Investor Growth Capital. The company has raised $60.6 million to date, shows Crunchbase.

Jet, the year-old, Montclair, N.J.-based e-commerce company founded by entrepreneur Marc Lore, has raised $140 million in new funding led by Bain Capital Ventures, with participation from Accel Partners, Coatue Management, General Catalyst Partners, Goldman Sachs, Google Ventures, MentorTech Ventures, New Enterprise Associates, Norwest Venture Partners, Silicon Valley Bank, Temasek, Thrive Capital and other investors. The investment, in the form of debt that is convertible into equity, is expected to value the young e-commerce company at nearly $600 million. The WSJ has more here.

InterviewJet, 1.5-year-old, New York-based members-only hiring platform designed to introduce experienced engineers with employers who have 72 hours to lock down an interview with each candidate, has raised $750,000 in seed funding from Mitchell Martin, an IT and healthcare staffing company. Now the company just has to find some engineers. TechCrunch has more here.

Laurel & Wolf, a year-old, L.A.-based interior design platform that connects professional designers with customers, has raised $4.4 million in Series A funding led by CRV, with participation from earlier backers. The company has now has raised $5.5 million in total, including from Karlin Ventures, Upside Partnership, and Draper & Associates.

Metaps, a 7.5-year-old, Singapore-based app monetization platform, has raised $36 million in Series C funding from new and earlier backers that aren’t being named. According to Crunchbase, the company has now raised $52.5 million altogether, including from Fidelity Growth Partners Asia, Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Company, Sansei Capital Investment, and Nippon Venture Capital.

Reserve Media, a year-old, New York-based restaurant-booking and payment app startup, is raising a $15 million Series A round led by Expa Capital and Human Ventures Capital, with numerous angel investors participating, including entertainers Jared Leto, Jon Favreau,, as well as earlier backers like Advancit Capital, First Round Capital, Lowercase Capital, Sherpa Ventures, and new backers SV Angel, Venture51 and Visionnaire Ventures.

WedPics, a four-year-old, Raleigh, N.C.-based online and mobile platform that encourages wedding participants to share photos, has increased the size of its Series B round, closing on $6.5 million, including from Barbara Corcoran Venture Partners. TechCrunch has more here.


New Funds

Carrick Capital Partners, a 2.5-year-old, San Francisco-based tech focused investment firm, has raised $275 million for its second fund, up from the $180 million it raised for its debut vehicle. Carrick invests across stages; among its most recent bets is Everspring, an Evanston, Il.-based company that helps universities design and deliver their classes online.

Emergence Capital Partners, the 12-year-old, San Mateo, Ca.-based venture firm, has closed its fourth fund with $335 million. (“Not too big and not too small,” says the firm of its size.) Emergence undoubtedly could have raised much more. It’s been a hit factory for its limited partners, with bets that include Salesforce, SuccessFactors, Yammer, Box, and Veeva Systems, whose 2013 IPO produced an especially enormous return for the firm.

Zetta Venture Partners, the two-year-old, San Francisco-based venture fund, has closed its debut fund with $60 million — double its original target, founder and managing director Mark Gorenberg tells Venture Capital Dispatch. Gorenberg was long a managing director at Hummer Winblad Venture Partners. He’s now running Zetta — which is zeroing in on data analytics startups — with Ash Fontana, who Gorenberg plucked out of AngelList to be a managing director. (Fontana had created AngelList’s first startup index fund.)



Expedia is buying Orbitz for about $1.6 billion in cash. This comes after Expedia announced that it was buying Travelocity last month for $280 million. Skift has more here.

MakeMeReach, a six-year-old, advertising startup that lets mobile app developers extend ad campaigns to social media platforms, has been acquired by the Tel Aviv-based media company Perion Network for undisclosed terms that various reports have pegged at between $12 million and $15 million. Crunchbase shows the company had raised at least $4.4 million in funding, including from Alven Capital, UFG Private Equity, and Groupe Siparex.

The Niche Project, a 1.5-year-old, New York-based startup that connects Internet stars with big-brand advertisers, has been acquired by Twitter for roughly $30 million, according to Recode’s sources. The company had raised $3.1 million in seed funding from a long list of investors, including Slow Ventures, BoxGroup, and entrepreneur Bryan Goldberg.



Longtime Cisco CEO John Chambers ran four miles yesterday morning, lifted weights, then, in an earnings call, told the world he was going to crush the “white label” efforts of Facebook and numerous startups trying to build their own, new, less expensive computer networks. He also said VMWare had better watch its back. “VMware is a competitor,” he said. “We’re going to view them as a competitor and we will beat them and have fun doing it. I wish I was a better person, but I’m not.”

Elise Clougherty, the Stanford graduate who recently filed an explosive lawsuit against her former boyfriend and mentor, Joe Lonsdale, began telling her side of the story seven months ago to New York Times Magazine writer Emily Bazelon. That report — which includes interviews with Lonsdale — is out this morning.

Murray Cox, a software engineer-turned-photographer from Brooklyn, has launched a site that claims to map out every Airbnb listing in New York City — including details that could help lawmakers suss out illegal rentals. USA Today has the story here.

Indranil (“Indy”) Guha, has been promoted to partner at Bain Capital Ventures, which he joined in 2007. He’ll be working out of Bain’s new San Francisco office. Guha was previously a consultant at the Monitor Group. Bain Capital Ventures, the 15-year-old offshoot of Bain Capital, opened its first West Coast office in Palo Alto, Ca., in 2011. The firm also has offices in Boston and New York. Venture Capital Dispatch has more here.

Former Motorola Mobility CFO Vanessa Wittman has joined Dropbox as its CFO, reports Recode, a move that suggests an IPO can’t be too far off. Dropbox’s former CFO, Sujay Jaswa, who’d joined the firm from New Enterprise Associates roughly a year ago, is “moving back into some kind of unspecified investing job, but will also remain a special adviser to the company,” says Recode.


Job Listings

Twitter is looking to hire a business development manager who will help the company build and scale its commerce initiatives.



The law firm Cooley has rolled out a new data visualization feature that allows visitors to drill down on data gleaned from thousands of the deals Cooley has worked on from the beginning of 2009 through 2014’s end.

The law firm Fenwick & West has released its fourth quarter venture capital survey, and it’s also worth a look. The big takeaway: valuations were up, up and away.


Essential Reads

Good news: Facebook now lets you designate a “legacy contact” for your digital afterlife.

This new Tesla battery will power your home, and maybe the electric grid, too.

Fitbit is reportedly facing new complaints over skin irritation by its customers. (The company’s response: People, you need to take the thing off once in a while.)



“This like the best first date I’ve ever been on.”

A modern guide to the love letter.

Ultra-fast robots arranging batteries.


Retail Therapy

The Taurus First 24 Kit. No one will accuse you of being ill-prepared for the apocalypse.


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